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4 Deceptively Simple Ways To Rebuild Broken Trust

by Seth Taylor on September 18th, 2018 in Men, Women, Spouses

broken-trustWe can’t change each other; we can only change ourselves.

That’s just one of the hard and fast truths about relationships, and yet we tend to spend tremendous amounts of time and energy ignoring it.

Hey, I get it: sometimes that person really needs to change. But guess what: we all need to change. We always need to grow to places where we experience more peace, love, joy, freedom, and wisdom, whether we’re the porn addict or the partner.

In that light, here are a few steps to take toward rebuilding the broken trust that often accompanies addiction. And please note: these steps are for both the people in the relationship, not just the porn addict.

1) Forgive everyone, including yourself.

First off: forgiveness is NOT a thing you do—it’s a destination you arrive at within yourself. Between where you stand right now and that beautiful place where your eyes are opened and you see your partner in the light of grace, brokenness and all, you may find anger (rage, perhaps), repressed pain/trauma, and conflicting beliefs that may need to be shattered on your way to forgiveness. Don’t know how to get there? Find a professional counselor who can sit with you and guide you through the process. It’s time for action.

 2) Find silence.

The ancient Christian mystics and desert fathers made lifestyles of living in silence—they lived tangibly from their spirits, understanding that the mind is not the spirit. The apostle Paul referred to a “peace that passes understanding.” What does this mean for our busy world now? Oftentimes when we make a practice of the teaching, “be still and know that I am God,” we can find in that space the patience, wisdom, insight, and kindness we need to see our partners as God sees them.

3) Get a mentor.

By this, I don’t mean find someone who will teach you more of the same thing that hasn’t been working for you. Find someone who lives on the other side of the mountain you are climbing. Find someone who has lived a story of pain and struggle and now trusts their partner. Do anything and everything you have to do to sit at their feet and learn. This is the ancient art of discipleship, and it is the most tangible form of true human community.

4) Commit to a lifetime of honesty.

You don’t need to know every thought in your partner’s head at all times, but being granted access to the innermost parts of ourselves is the core of trust. It’s also the core of our pain, which makes it is so much harder to say than to do. Allowing my wife to see me in all of my pain means I have to allow her to have her pain. Even if I cause it. And the same goes for her. When I am this honest, I commit not to life that she can trust, but to a life where I become the person I want to be. I am making a commitment to myself.

My wife and I once stood on the sidewalk just after a joint counseling and committed to each other that we would go after our own individual healing with everything we had, desperate to try out the theory that this would lead to the marriage we wanted. And this is turning out to be true. We stopped trying to trust each other and learned to heal, and now we’re discovering that a healed person is very trustworthy.

Try out these four practices and you may find healing; and in healing, you’ll slowly but surely rebuild trust.



  • Tracy

    I don’t find ‘healed’ people helpful. I find them to be self righteous 🙁 I find them to be pushing me towards the idea that I’m meant to be able to forgive like Jesus… When I truly believe that if we could forgive like Jesus then He wouldn’t have had to come and do it for us. I don’t trust ‘healed’ people bc they act like I have somewhere I’m supposed to get to with my feelings rather than loving me where I am. I believe Jesus can make all things clean, absolutely. But I also know the reality of consequences, which is the knowledge that betrayal happened. I’m not bitter, I have what I believe to be a healthy longing for Jesus’ return… And all things to be made new. Instead of a mentor I’ve found that true friends, people who accept me for who and where I am is much more helpful. Other than that, I like the list.

    • Seth Alan Taylor

      Tracy – I would go as far as saying that if “healing” leads to self-righteousness, then we’re not talking about healed people. Healed people stand free of judgment for themselves and others. They live into the truest essence of what grace is – loved unconditionally no matter what, no exceptions. I believe we were indeed meant to forgive like Jesus. Jesus didn’t “come and do it for us.” In fact he taught his disciples to forgive like him. He taught that we are forgiven in the same measure we forgive others. But as I wrote in the post, and this is key for you, forgiveness is not a thing you must do or even something you can do. It is a place you arrive at on this Sacred journey towards freedom. If you cannot forgive, rather than lean on Jesus to do the forgiving for you, perhaps think about diving into the reasons you can’t forgive. They most likely exist at a place inside of you where healing is waiting to happen. As far as a mentor goes – I didn’t say it was an alternative to friends. I said it’s helpful in a way that loving friends can’t be.

      I’m sorry you were betrayed and pray you find healing…. Blessings.

      • Just me

        Thank you for your very gracious response. I’m grateful and I will dive in to the reasons I may not be forgiving perfectly on my own. My thought though is this, isn’t that very much like suggesting I dive into the reasons I can’t perfectly love on my own? I mean, I assume you would agree, that none of us are capable of loving perfectly, the way God designed covenant love, and the way Jesus did/does love. I don’t love perfectly, my husband doesn’t love me perfectly. Jesus is the only one who can. I’m suggesting forgiveness is like that. Because only through Christ all things are possible. I don’t expect perfect love from my husband alone, should he expect perfect forgiveness from me? Or vice versa? Seriously, what a weight either way. I think that’s what ‘laying it at the cross’ and ‘giving it up to God’ mean. Yes Jesus taught the disciples to forgive like Him. And God told Adam not to eat the fruit. We can’t do God’s plan perfectly without Jesus at the center ‘doing it for us’.

        • Seth Alan Taylor

          Those are some really big and important theological questions – I believe that much of what you are talking about depends on our reading of scripture and our understanding of the teachings of Christ and the Apostle Paul. Jesus was constantly teaching his disciples that they could embody the same spiritual power that he did. He empowered them to do the same, be the same, walk in the same light. But we must understand that when he taught his disciples to “be perfect as your Heavenly Father is perfect”, he wasn’t referring to a behavioral or moral position. He was referring to something that can be better understood as being “in Christ”, as the Apostle Paul put it. Paul spent a great deal of time trying to explain to his churches that being “in Christ” meant that we had not been made “perfect” but rather we had been made “free”. And freedom meant that perfection could now enter in to our lives, thoughts, hearts, spirits….and that would transform our behavior. But I believe Paul and Jesus and the other disciples were teaching this as a process of living and salvation that was “working itself out daily” “being made new everyday”. There was a process happening to each and every person and grace was the thing that facilitated our imperfections. Thus, because of grace, when we are weak, we are actually strong because in our weaknesses, we find the beautiful privilege of asking important questions. This is a Sacred Journey (Pilgrimage) we walk in our lives, always pointing forward into the greater and greater eyes open experience of the Loving Creator and His Creation….which is us.

          I would say that rather than Christ at the center doing it for us, what we have is the experience Paul talked about. We are “in Christ”. Now, in Christ, the old has been made new. And we have the power to move into the perfection we once had in the garden. So yes, you can love perfectly….it is possible. Will it happen in this lifetime and in your relationship with your husband? Who knows – but grace means that the love and acceptance and forgiveness is already present in the center of your lives and relationship. You don’t need to bring that to the table, but instead have the privilege now to ask the real question, “Why can’t I experience this love that the Spirit is saying is already present?” That’s what 2 Corinthians 12 is about. God’s grace is sufficient for us…… so why can’t we seem to experience it? Why are most of us Christians so steeped in anger, bitterness, judgment, and depression. Why does the world seem to experience us as haters, not lovers? These are the kind of questions that begin to tear at the fabric of our identities and deconstruct our control…..which can be very difficult and painful. But this is what it means to die to self. And dying is the only way to being about resurrection.

          🙂 Blessings my friend – just remember that Jesus was pointing us towards a life walked in the Spirit, with all of the power and privilege that comes with that. The Bible says you have the power that created the Universe dwelling within you. The only question is, why don’t we feel it? I don’t usually respond to comments on blogs – but this one has been shared a ton and you were the only one with the courage to comment…..and what you are wrestling with is incredibly important. Blessings on that journey.

          • Just me

            I believe I am being made free by depending on Jesus for all of it. I do feel perfect love from Jesus alone. I also believe that true freedom cannot be actualized until Jesus’ second coming. Maybe we both need to take God out of the man made box we’ve put Him in. For me, it is the very idea that you’re suggesting: that you’re capable of loving and forgiving perfectly that I find to be self righteous. Maybe that’s me putting God in a box and I have to change my perspective on that. Maybe you’ve put God in a box by declaring that forgiveness has to look the way it has worked for you and I still have some place I have to get to on my sanctification journey. Maybe sanctification actually looks like us allowing others their own journey and not expecting it to look like our own.

          • Seth Alan Taylor

            Indeed. 🙂 just trying to challenge you in a helpful way, but it sounds like you have what you want. So I’ll hope that Jesus comes soon for you so you can find the peace that passes understanding. Blessings.

          • Just me

            Well yes… Amen to that. But I don’t think you get it. I can find peace and comfort and joy in this life here, accept the darkness of it and yearn for Jesus’ return… all at the same time. Why is it that counselor type people are trying to convince everyone that this life can be heavenly… Wouldn’t saying so diminish God’s true heaven? That’s my understanding of John 12:25, knowing that this life is nothing compared to what is to come… revelation hasn’t happened yet, I look forward to it. Come Lord Jesus, come 🙂

          • Seth Alan Taylor

            Would you be willing to acknowledge though that your theology is diminishing the joy one can possibly experience in this life? Your reading of scripture is one that minimizes the importance and opportunity of this life and this creation and this planet. I think it is this kind of reading that is one of the reasons why the porn addiction crisis is what it is in the church today. Your fundamentalist perspective demands that we separate from ourselves, our world, our brothers and sisters in this world, and our humanity. It is simply untenable – You must view our bodies as “bodies of death” and therefore live at war with them. Everything is THE OTHER. What an awful way to live….

          • Just me

            I would say that as soon as Adam and eve sinned, this world started to decay. Our hope, joy and contentment should be found in heaven, Jesus and eternal things. The rest is just pretty packaging, or not! Don’t rely on your ‘body’ or anyone else’s… It will last only a moment.

          • Just me

            And no, it’s not awful.. It’s faith filled and hopeful

  • Shel

    Is there anywhere I can go for help that won’t cost? I tired joining a women’s group but I can’t pay.
    I used to be into this with my husband really bad, we got saved me then stopped for 8 years almost. Recently I found out he was into it again because he just brought it to me one day, so assuming this is what he needed to be satisfied I went with it ( having a horrible feeling afterwards, like I normally do) I find myself still just going with it. He seems way more into it, and every time it hurts me more. I have come to the point that to avoiding I just don’t want to have sex with my husband anymore. I have told him. Few times how I felt, then each time he either brought it back or WA so bored I caved. Help me please!
    Sorry is this isn’t the place for this, it’s the only place I found right away to comment

  • CJ

    What if you are the betrayed spouse and the offending spouse says it is your issues that caused her to do what she did? What if she is the one who broke the trust and disconnected in the relationship and made a choice to stray from the relationship even though you continued to maintain your love for her? We have been going to counseling for a while now, but everything is focused all on her and her issues with me and the road of rebuilding trust toward me has been something that hasn’t even been broached, yet. Very frustrating, to say the least!

    • Tiffany

      I can relate. I am a Christian and my husband isn’t. He has been clinically diagnosed with a sexual addiction and views pornography multiple times per week. . He always turns my findings against me saying that I’m looking for something to complain about. He doesn’t except that he has an addiction and blames me saying that he does it because our sex life is lacking. Um, of course it is when you’re viewing pornography and betraying your marriage. That is NOT a turn on for me.

  • larryyyys

    I was really missing my wife when she left me for someone else. I was weak to take care of some situations and i let her slip my arms. I had to talk to my partner at the office who recently got her husband back. She told me to get in touch with John Patience who helped her get her husband back with a love spell. I was very sure of this because John has helped my partner get her husband back. So i called John Patience and told him i lost my lover and wanted her back. He encouraged me and told me to be happy. He did his thing and told me my wife will be back in 45 hours. I waited for that time and my wife called me and told me that she has forgiven me aend ready to take me back in her life. Since then, my wife and i have been enjoying our marriage with our lovely 4 kids. I am very grateful to John for what he has done for me. I’d advice you to ask him for help if you have any problem on your relationship and some other aspects of life. His email is [email protected] 🙂

  • Brad Magyar

    Answers 1-4 should have been “fix your eyes upon Christ.” This is all pragmatism and doesn’t get at the heart of the issue.

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